Ordinarily we would be urging those of you who are politically active to take advantage of this forum. We’d tell you to call, write or hire a plane to fly a banner. Just do anything to get attention for the False Claims Act during the campaign. We are a little disappointed nobody has asked the candidates to support the False Claims Act Corrections Act at any of the seemingly endless series of snooze inducing debates. What’s one question about fighting fraud mixed in with the You-Tube chatter?
Despite this void there has been a major positive event to highlight before February 5th.
Two of the biggest states at stake on February 5, California, and Illinois, have had their own False Claims Acts for many years. New York just got on board last year. Now, perhaps sensing a tsunami of support for fighting fraud, New Jersey has joined the group. By a unanimous vote in its Senate, The Garden State enacted its own False Claims Act just in time for Feb 5th.
Were the legislators and Governor afraid not to have a False Claims Act on the books when the national press arrived to cover a presidential campaign? Probably not. Probably, the New Jersey Legislature just knew a good thing when they saw one. Now, in addition to the billions collected through the Federal FCA, whistleblowers will be able to fight fraud at the local level.
The political implications of more states enacting these laws should not be dismissed. First of all the False Claims Act is popular. Fighting fraud is the safe place to be if you are voting in any legislature. We need to remind the Congress of that simple fact early and often to push for improvements to the law. Second, the laws enacted at the state level will increase popularity for all the False Claims Acts. It can be hard to get attention for a federal case involving merely millions as opposed to billions of dollars, but at the state level smart politicians/attorneys can make a nice career out of saving their state a few million dollars and fighting fraud. That’s fine with me.